Is Obama Finding His Groove?

(Photo Credit: White House Photostream)
Peter Baker has a piece in the New York Times today in which he argues that this week’s 47-nation nuclear security summit represents a coming out party of sorts for Obama’s foreign policy. After 15 months of kicking the tires and dealing with “legacy issues” left over from the Bush administration, Baker suggests that Obama may be finding his groove.
This line of analysis has been shared by others, including TWN Publisher Steve Clemons, who makes a persuasive case in this Politico piece and this segment with Keith Olbermann that Obama is using the nuclear summit to demonstrate what an America-led order should look like and how the United States can craft creative multilateral solutions to global problems.
This week’s nuclear summit is no doubt encouraging, but those prickly “legacy” issues from the Bush administration that Baker refers to in his article – i.e. Iraq and especially Afghanistan – may continue to overshadow Obama’s progress on other fronts if they are not handled correctly.
Whether the administration can channel its realpolitik sensibilities and multilateral approach to the challenge of extricating the United States from Afghanistan will in the end determine whether it is Afghanistan, rather than nuclear security and the reorientation of great power relations, that comes to define Obama’s presidency.
— Ben Katcher


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